Helping people with disabilities in rural areas

Within the project “Local Support to the Independent Living System of Persons with Disabilities”, implemented by the NGO Center for Development and Cooperation in partnership with the Municipality of Plandište and the Center for Social Work Plandište, organized a support service for people with disabilities (PwD) in rural areas in the municipality of Plandište. This project was supported by the European Union with EUR 197,887.94, while project implementers managed to obtain another 24,458.06 EUR through co-financing.

The project is aimed at establishing a home help service for the elderly with disabilities in the rural areas of the municipality, promotion of efficient use of resources through the cooperation of partners from the social protection system and the health system, as well as ensuring the sustainability of social services through innovative models. Until the realization of this project there was no record of PwD on the territory of the municipality, so it was not possible to create local support measures because there was no adequate review of the situation.

Through the education and engagement of 10 rural housewives and 10 rural hosts, the project provided support for 45 families of people with disabilities in 13 villages of the Plandište municipality. Support included care for people with disabilities in the home environment (rural households) and assistance to the PwD families in a rural rural environment (rural hosts). In addition to innovative social services, the project developed the Strategic Plan for Social Protection of the Municipality of Plandište, which will in the future provide maintenance of the service through the local budget.

As the survey showed within the project, users and their families showed a high level of satisfaction for rural housewives and hosts. The OSI families noted that they received support in the segments where they were most needed, and that individuals within the families most fostering disabled people had for the first time had the opportunity to leave the house and improve their own quality of life.

Improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the territory of Plandište municipality is a key change in the future. This will be provided through the extension of service, by increasing the number of PwD families supported and by engaging additional rural hosts and housewives.

The project has also highlighted two important lessons learned by project coordinators. In projects that are implemented at the village level, it is necessary to include local communities in these villages, as they are a source of valuable data both for users and for potential service providers. Also, in projects dealing with socially sensitive categories of the population, social protection institutions need to be more intensively involved, as this creates a large material technical resource for expanding the service (the possibility of washing and ironing for the users, the possibility of making meals for one-member / two-member households. ) and thus further improve the position of the direct target group.

The project is implemented under the grant scheme “Development of efficient services in community areas of education and social welfare at the local level”. This grant scheme with a budget of 5.5 million euros, finances project activities for 30 beneficiaries and covers local self-government, civil society organizations, and relevant institutions at the local level aimed for the promotion of social entrepreneurship and for preventing the dropout children from the school system in Serbia. The project also aims to increase the capacities of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs in the management of the grant scheme, as well as to guide and modernize the process of drafting the Strategy for Social Welfare and other innovative regulatory mechanisms in the field of social policy.